Flowers that will make your backyard sing

  • A finch rests upon the top of a purple coneflower.

    A finch rests upon the top of a purple coneflower. Courtesy of Lurveys Garden Center

  • Planting the right perennials around your yard will attract many pollinators, including hummingbirds

    Planting the right perennials around your yard will attract many pollinators, including hummingbirds Courtesy of Lurveys Garden Center

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Sponsored by Lurveys Garden Center
Updated 6/11/2021 6:13 AM

As spring's symphony of pastel blooms begin to fade, warm winds usher in a new and exciting transition to the garden. The garden will soon become alive with an explosion of color. Pops of pink, flurries of yellow and speckles of purple as a colorful canvas unfolds.

There is nothing that rivals the summer perennial garden's bold blooms. But where do I begin, you may ask? Although the choices are abundant and can become overwhelming, creating a beautiful summer perennial garden is easier than you think.


Let us take a look into a few favorites that are easy to grow, extremely hardy and will bring you a lifetime of delight.

One of the first perennials to come into color heralding the arrival of summer is salvia. Bushy plants with multiple, spikelike flowers, salvias are full of color, ranging from deep purple, blue-violet, sky blue, white, pink and magenta from late spring to early summer. They're hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 4 through 8, including Chicago's Zone 5. Tolerant of a wide variety of soils from dry and rocky to clay, they're a magnet for multiple pollinators and an excellent cut flower.

Cut salvias back after flowering to encourage a second wave of blooms. Plant in full sun to partial shade. Noteworthy cultivars include May Night, Caradonna and Rose Marvel.

Are you looking for a mass of bold summer color? Bee balm is the plant for you. It's one of the best, showstopping native perennials for summer color, hands down.

Tall study plants hold showy flowers of red, violet, pink, lavender or white from early to late summer, depending on the variety, for as long as six weeks. Bee balm has minty, fragrant foliage and is hardy in zones 3 through 9. Plant in full sun to partial shade. It's tolerant of a wide variety of soils from loam to clay. Butterflies and hummingbirds cannot resist this plant. Please note that bee balm can be susceptible to powdery mildew. There are cultivars available that are least susceptible, which include Grandview Scarlet, Marshall's Delight and Coral Reef.

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Elegant yet tough, purple coneflower is a long-blooming native perennial that will add a multitude of color to your summer garden. Vigorous, sturdy stems hold bold blooms ranging in colors from pink, red, yellow, orange and white. Coneflowers bloom from mid to late summer. Perfect for borders, beds and natural wildflowers gardens, purple coneflower makes excellent cut flowers and are a magnet for pollinations and birds. Plant in full sun to light shade. Hardy in zones 3 to 10, try these cultivars: Cheyenne Spirit, Magnus and White Swan.

Another iconic summer border perennial is garden phlox. Showy clusters of star-shaped blossoms fill the air in mid to late summer with a sweet fragrance. One of the easiest perennials to grow in beds and borders, these classic phlox blooms range from white, lavender, pink, rose, red, salmon and bi colors.

Extremely popular with pollinators and hummingbirds, garden phlox is hardy in zones 4 to 8. Plant in full sun to partial shade. Phlox handles a wide range of soil conditions. Powdery mildew can be of concern. Some of the best cultivars to handle this concern would include David, Laura and Bright Eyes.

Nothing screams summer more than the bright yellow blooms dancing above fine cut foliage of coreopsis. One of the most low maintenance of summer blooming perennials, coreopsis features prolific and long-blooming flowers from early to late summer and longer if deadheaded. This native perennial is tolerant of a wide range of soils. It's excellent for beds, borders, rock and cottage gardens. Hardy in zones 3 to 10, plant coreopsis in full sun to part shade. Popular with birds and pollinators, some reliable cultivars are Jethro Tull, Moonbeam and Zagreb.

It is time to get a move on to grab some of these beautiful color perennials. Stop on by Lurveys Garden Center located at 2550 E. Dempster St. in Des Plaines and ask for Kyle, our perennial specialist, to check out these great perennials and many more to enhance your summer garden. Let us help you to create your own colorful summer masterpiece.

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